MacBook Air or Mac Mini + Chromebook?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by dmk1974, Dec 7, 2012.


MacBook Air or Mac Mini + Chromebook?

  1. 2012 MacBook Air 11" i5 1.7 GHz w/4gb RAM and 128 GB SSD

    12 vote(s)
  2. 2012 Mac Mini i5 2.5 GHz w/16gb RAM and 250gb Crucial M4 SSD + Samsung Chromebook 11" w/16gb SSD

    11 vote(s)
  1. dmk1974, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012

    dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Trying to look at about the same ~$1000 budget, which do you think is better?

    1.) 2012 MacBook Air 11" i5 1.7 GHz w/4gb RAM and 128 GB SSD


    2.) 2012 Mac Mini i5 2.5 GHz w/16gb RAM and 256gb Crucial M4 SSD PLUS a $249 Samsung Chromebook 11" with 16gb SSD (Chrome OS)

  2. Dweez macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2011
    Down by the river
  3. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Really, I can get by with either. Heck, I can live with a cheap Windows machine if I had to. But I like OSX as well as trying out other systems and options.

    #1 has everything that I really need I guess all packed into a single machine.

    #2 has a souped up Mac plus a cheap and light laptop option that looks like it would be fine for web browsing, email, and light office apps when I can't be at my desk with the Mac Mini. Google Drive allows for the extra storage space when connected to WiFi which I would be 99.9% of the time.
  4. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    following your signature you have already the MBA and an iPad.

    A good combination as the iPad can be used for your eMail, Web and light office work.

    What else do you need ? For what else ? Main Memory could be a decision factor if you do (heavy) work with image or video processing.
  5. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    Correct. I have had the 11" MBA since June. Great machine, no complaints. I bought an open-box 2012 Mac Mini last week and popped in the SSD and RAM and it's really sweet. But there are times that I wish I had a keyboard and better Office apps when using my iPad which is why I still like to have a laptop as well.
  6. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    I voted for chromebook option...but it's because Im in Canada and google doesn't sell them here,and i want one...
  7. mwhities macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2011
    Mac mini and iPad.

    Use the iPad for things you can, then use the iPad as a mouse/kb for the Mac mini.
  8. alotlikehomer macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2011
    Chromebook is not going to give you a completely satisfying experience, especially in comparison to Apple products. It is really just for web browsing and even then felt somewhat laborious to use to me.
  9. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040


    Jun 27, 2010
    Plano, TX
    This is my current setup. I use the iPad for most things and use the Mini when I need to use Office. I also have a PC laptop around when I need both portability and Office.


    If you are wanting the full desktop experience you could always use the Air with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I did that with my laptop before I bought my 2012 Mini.


    Any reason for getting a new Air when you already have one?
  10. yangchewren macrumors regular

    Dec 1, 2012
    So your only relevant decision now is whether to buy the chromebook?

    Or do you intend to sell what you already have
  11. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I would sell my 11" MacBook Air or just return the Mac Mini and Chromebook to Best Buy (since they were more recent purchases). I Just bought an open box Chromebook there an hour ago and am typing this post on it. Not too bad. No MacBook Air of course, but I'll put it through its paces and see if it's sufficient for a portable in addition to a Mac Mini.
  12. flight macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2010
    I was also considering both options. I was leaning towards the Chromebook, since Chrome has a free remote desktop feature--it's like having a plastic MacBook Air! However, I think a native OS X experience on a laptop will allow me to avoid the possible headaches associated with remote options. Still an interesting idea though.
  13. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I've been using this Chromebook for a few hours today. Pretty good! It's definitely no MacBook Air.

    But using the Chrome Remote Desktop has been actually better than LogMeIn that I had previously used. I connected it to my MBA as well as a Windows 8 PC in the house. It's almost like it can run 2 extra OS on the Chromebook! Granted, there is a little bit of lag in some cases. But very impressive.

    The keyboard layout and size are almost identical to the 11" MBA. I do miss some of the trackpad gestures though.

    Battery life has been outstanding. Truly is pacing out to about 6+ hours of usage (I only usually get 4-4.5 on my 11" MBA).

    Screen is nicer on the 11" MBA. I wish there were some contrast adjustments, but only brightness can be adjusted on the Chromebook.

    I figured out how to set up the printing, so no issues there.

    I really wish I could open MS Office files on this thing though with the ability to edit them as well. I copied some files to the Chromebook and Google Drive as well, but no luck (unless I remote desktop) unless I create the file on the Chromebook in the Google Docs format.

    I'll probably play with this for at least a few more days. I think the main things that attracted me to it were the $217 open box price and that if I take it out of the house with me, I'm not as worried if I drop it or lose it compared to a $1000 MBA. But the overall capability of the MBA and it's abilities are obviously more superior. ~$800 more superior? We'll see.
  14. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    I have been using the chromebook for a few days too and love it b.c the price. I mostly use my air to just surf the web, check email, view dropbox...very simple things. The chromebook does it all at the same speed, but so much cheaper. The screen is meh, but the keyboard and trackpad are just fine. The only thing I feel missing is the browser gestures like you mentioned.
  15. ZenMoto macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2012
    Mostly on topic: Does anybody know where to buy the Samsung Chromebook? They've been all sold out everywhere for the past month or more.
  16. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I only have seen them at Best Buy, but they usually have none in stock. I was kinda lucky to find the one open box sitting there.
  17. HarryWarden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2012
    I ordered a Samsung Chromebook off Amazon (and sold by Amazon) on December 8. Received an email today that it'll be shipping on Monday as they were out of stock when I placed the order. Didn't take that long though for them to get some in stock. I'm buying it for my dad as a Christmas present as he only wants something for web browsing and didn't like the Kindle Fire HD I previously bought him (now returned) as he struggled with the small screen and the fact that the Fire wasn't nearly as responsive to touch as the iPad is.

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